Frank Lampard has said he is happy with the improvements shown by Chelsea so far this season but insists he is not getting "carried away" by his team's promising start.
Chelsea embarked on an expensive recruitment drive in the summer, spending nearly £250 million ($334m) on new players, including exciting talents such as Kai Havertz and Timo Werner from the Bundesliga, Moroccan winger Hakim Ziyech from Ajax, and England left-back Ben Chilwell.
Expectations have therefore been high that Chelsea can challenge Liverpool and Manchester City for major honours this season, and after a shaky start to the season, the Blues have started to hit their stride, winning five games in a row.
Most crucially, the team has become far less porous and have kept six clean sheets in their past seven games, thanks in part to the arrivals of Brazilian defender Thiago Silva from Paris Saint-Germain and goalkeeper Edouard Mendy from Rennes.
Chelsea went top of the league briefly on Saturday with a 2-0 victory at Newcastle United before dropping back to third after Tottenham Hotspur's win over Manchester City and Liverpool's win over Leicester City.
"After eight or nine games, it would be easy to get excited about being in a lofty position but I'm not going to smile too much," Lampard told Chelsea's website.
"We're in a decent position but doing that consistently over a big period is the next step for us now.
"The first port of call this year was to close the gap on Man City and Liverpool, who have set different levels of consistency through a season."
"We are improving but we cannot get carried away. We have to try to reach those levels but I'm happy with where we're at right now."
Chelsea face Rennes in the Champions League on Tuesday with German playmaker Havertz set to return after completing his period of isolation following a positive Covid-19 test earlier this month.
"Kai is a naturally fit boy so I hope to have him travelling with us to Rennes and maybe he'll get some minutes," Lampard said.
Chelsea top Group E on seven points, level with Sevilla, and will qualify for the knockout stages with two games to spare if they win and Sevilla avoid defeat to Krasnodar.